Orchids, cacti and student garden spaces
The greenhouse is used as teaching and research facility for the Connecticut College botany and ecology classes. It is staffed by arboretum personnel. Built in 1935 under a grant from the Rockefeller Foundation to Dr. George Avery, professor of botany and the arboretum’s first director, the greenhouse was designed by Lord and Burnham to replace an existing lean-to greenhouse.
In its early years, the greenhouse was a state-of-the art growth chamber with temperature, light, and humidity controlled spaces for research on plant hormones and growth. The planting room to the greenhouse, called the Anthony Francis Nelson ’78 Botany Laboratory, was dedicated in November of 1977.
Today, the 3,000-square foot greenhouse includes a tropical house with plantings in the ground, an area for botany and cell biology experiments and several collections. These include a cactus collection, an orchid collection, and an economic botany/ethnobotany collection. Each year, introductory botany students plant and tend a small garden plot of their own design within the greenhouse.